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Polytechnic student wins national trainee chef competition

Polytechnic student wins national trainee chef competition

Four of 10 finalists from Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Culinary Arts

Stephanie Peirce will be pitted against the best trainee chefs in Australasia early next year, after being named the winner of the national competition, Proud to be a Chef.

The Otago Polytechnic Bachelor of Culinary Arts student finished first in the New Zealand final of the competition, qualifying for the Australasian final to be held in Melbourne in February. She will be one of 30 finalists from across Australasia to take part in a three-day master class and competition.

Bachelor of Culinary Arts Programme Manager, Tony Heptinstall, says Stephanie was selected as one of 10 finalists from about 65 applicants.

“Four of the 10 finalists were from Otago Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Culinary Arts,” says Mr Heptinstall. “This is a significant achievement given that no one institution has ever had more than two students make it to the final of this competition.”

The Bachelor of Culinary Arts is the only design-led culinary degree in the world, launched this year with a cohort of 48 students.

The dish that won Stephanie top honours was devised as part of her studies.

“It’s one I designed from scratch and submitted as part of my pastry course. It is inspired by Cinderella and the transformation of the golden carriage into a pumpkin at midnight.”

The dish is a sphere of golden white chocolate; a hot caramel sauce is poured over it at the table to reveal a frozen pumpkin mousse inside.

“It is so fantastic to win an award for the work that I did for my degree. It means that all the work that I put into designing and developing this dish has an application in the real world,” she says.

“Stephanie is incredibly talented and the judges were full of praise for both her creativity and professionalism,” says Tony Heptinstall. “She is just one of the many talented students that we have on the Bachelor of Culinary Arts. They come from all sorts of backgrounds and levels of experience and the work they are producing is nothing short of remarkable.”

Applications for the 2013 intake of the Bachelor of Culinary Arts at Otago Polytechnic are open until the end of November. For application information, please see or contact Tony Heptinstall 021 735 229.


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